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Revel W990 Review (in-wall speaker)

MediumRare

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I guess light switches are an exception ;) OK, every country has its specific laws. Here in Germany it wouldn't be a problem AFAIK, but, most German houses have solid walls, so in-wall speakers are not very popular here so far.
A basic limitation is you can't plug in an appliance inside a wall either: "Section 314.29 of the National Electrical Code (adopted in some form in most localities in the US) requires that all outlet boxes be accessible without removing any part of the building or structure. That includes wallboard."
 

Rottmannash

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Honestly I wouldn't be worried about that as far as sound is good.
However, it just feels a bit wrong to see $200-ish crossovers in a speakers what cost 20x more, it's like a steel wheels on a premium car etc.

Nope:p
Those are from the Salon 2's.
 

a|F

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Many thanks to @amirm for measuring my speaker. Did you listen at all? I see no applicable comments.

I bought 4 of these to install as sides and rears in the family room - no more big boxes! - and had hoped to get 3 more up front if the testing went well. It's incredibly disappointing that Revel's "best" in-wall has serious shortcomings. I imagine the market for these - given the size and price - is quite low unless you're an integrator. Us commoners spending this amount on in-walls expect a great design. Especially from Revel. It seems we're paying for the name, overbuilt housing, and a few dip switches.

Has Revel given us reasons to doubt their spins? As a Revel dealer, does Amir have the relationship necessary to get a review of his data? His results actually look somewhat consistent with Revel's, save for the larger amplitudes seen.

Does Revel know how to design a quality speaker for the intended application? Yes these are expensive and yes there are good discounts to be had, but great value and Revel are not often synonymous.

I don't fully understand the measurement comments and possible issues related to it being near the top of the woofer. Does this come up with all 3-ways, just in-walls or just these? Assuming these speakers are designed for the most likely application - higher than ideal when sitting - then should our analysis change?

Comments were made about crossover work being warranted. Is that the biggest culprit here? I'd be happy to compensate someone to get in and modify this unit. Amir? I really like this 3-way design with a large woofer and am inclined to continue with them unless other recommendations are intriguing...

What other brands give confidence that an in-wall in the $1-2k range/unit (or less) will be a competent design and have decent output capabilities (>6.5" woofer)?

The boundary switch is on by default. That's interesting.

Thanks again to Amir for his time on this review and to the community for the continued pursuit of excellence. Cheers.
 
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amirm

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Has Revel given us reasons to doubt their spins? As a Revel dealer, does Amir have the relationship necessary to get a review of his data? His results actually look somewhat consistent with Revel's, save for the larger amplitudes seen.
The sales channel has no connection to the corporate marketing unfortunately. In the past I have tried to use my contacts in the company to get information but it has not been fruitful.

I do know that even the in-walls go through double blind testing before release so I suspect the subjective performance must be better than a lot of other in-wall options.
 
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amirm

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I'd be happy to compensate someone to get in and modify this unit. Amir?
I think a much cheaper and feasible tool is EQ. You need to have this for the room impact anyway so you also use it to flatten the response. A proposed EQ was already posted which substantially improved its score.
 
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amirm

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amirm

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@amirm, If you’d like to measure the Revel W553L, I could pop mine out at some point.
Ah, with the tweeter in the middle, it should be easier to measure. Can you do me a favor and compare its cut out size to that of W990? If they are the same, then it makes it much easier and faster to measure.
 

DualTriode

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Revel W990 in-wall speaker. It is on kind loan from a member and costs US $1,750 each.

Note: our company Madrona Digital is a dealer with Harman and I suspect we have installed thousands of their in-wall products over the years. While I have no way of shaping the measurements to favor one product or another, feel free to read any bias you like in my subjective words.

As I had feared, I had to build yet another baffle to test the Revel as the last one I built for monoprice was a different size:

View attachment 148726

I was out of wider panels. Ideally there would be more of a gap above and below the speaker for measurements. Here is a back shot of it:

View attachment 148727

The mounting studs are quite a bit more beefy than the ones monoprice used. I was surprised that the capacitors were Revel branded. They must have enough volume to justify getting custom caps like this.

EDIT: the measurements you see are using a special method called Klippel NFS Baffle that is designed to get rid of limitations of measuring a speaker mounted like above. It is able to get rid of diffraction caused by the edges of that baffle. Importantly, it also gets rid of both room reflections and sound coming from the back of the speaker. The result is a measurement that represents "infinite baffle" which you sort of get when you mount them in a large wall.

I had to measure the speaker three times. The challenge is that Klippel NFS in this type of measurement only allows one position to be specified which has to be the center of the radius encompassing the whole unit. This point is at the suspension of the woofer and not where the sound field is most complex (tweeter). As a result, the first scan produced mostly garbage above mid frequencies. I upped this on the second scan, not realizing the boundary scan switch was on which screwed up the bass. :( So a third scan had to be done. Due to reference point not being the tweeter, the response is not reliable above 10 kHz:

View attachment 148728

If you look all the way to the right, you can see how the measured and computed responses differ. On the other hand, on the left we see the magic of Klippel NFS not only filtering out diffraction caused by the baffle edges, but also compensates for the back wave coming forward, causing cancellation. The computed bass response takes this into account and as you see, shows the more proper bass which you would get when you mount this speaker on a wall.

Revel W990 Measurements
Remembering the above limitation and the reference being the upper part of the woofer surround, we get this:
View attachment 148729

This is not the kind of response I expect to see from Revel and at this high price point. I don't know if we have some measurement error or not. Here is Revel's own spin graph:

Spin%2B-%2BRevel%2BW990.png


The dip around 150 Hz is there as well and so is the chewed up response of the tweeter. But the level matching is better there in their measurements than mine.

As noted, I also ran a test with the boundary compensation on (but at lower resolution):
View attachment 148730

Here are the individual driver responses:

View attachment 148731

Our early window and predicted in-room response is not designed for in-wall speaker but here they are anyway:

View attachment 148732

View attachment 148733

Horizontal beamwidth is broad up to a point but then narrows beyond the surface of the wall:

View attachment 148734

Ignore the response above 10 kHz per earlier note.

I don't know why but Klippel software decided to switch to ±180 degrees for these two directivity plots:

View attachment 148735

View attachment 148736

Some of you asked for this but I think it makes it harder to interpret the plots. Anyway, keep the listening angle within 30 degrees of vertical.

Here is our 3-D directivity plots:

View attachment 148739

Note that you only get what is to the right of the vertical line as the rest is behind the wall. response is very good at 1000 and 2000 Hz. 3000 Hz may be screwed up due to baffle I built being too short vertically.

There was really good news on distortion front:

View attachment 148737

View attachment 148738

Note that these are in-room measurements so the on-axis response shown has the errors I showed earlier. Then again, it does show the correct response for the > 10 kHz.

Finally, here is our impedance and phase:

View attachment 148740

The low impedance requires a good amplifier.

Conclusions
Measuring speakers this way is challenging. Assuming we trust our measurements, the frequency response plots are not great. I expect far better from Revel. Maybe they know something about how these get used resulting in different tuning. Sadly because I don't have a wall to mount them in, I can't tell you anything about the subjective results either. Given what we have, and the high cost, I would not be buying these.

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Hello All,

Without knowing the assumptions and calculations going on in the software that speaker is no different than a open baffle speaker mounted on a piece of plywood

Definitely not an infinite baffle.

Good luck.
 

NTK

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Hello All,

Without knowing the assumptions and calculations going on in the software that speaker is no different than a open baffle speaker mounted on a piece of plywood

Definitely not an infinite baffle.

Good luck.
The measurements are made in 2 concentric half-spherical surfaces, inside the boundary of the (finite size) baffle. Sound-field separation is subsequently applied to extract the outgoing sound-field, similar to how the NFS processes regular standalone speakers. Effects from the baffle edges are excluded/eliminated as they are originated outside the scanning surfaces, and therefore aren't part of the outgoing sound-field.

Once the outgoing sound-field is determined. The free field (anechoic) sound-field anywhere outside of the measurement surfaces can be reconstructed as if the speaker in install in an infinite baffle.

Baffle.PNG
 

don'ttrustauthority

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Still decent but as you said I expect more for revel especially at this price range.

btw somehow I think revel and just, genelec etc. Should reward you with free products for these honest reviews which brought the some extra promotions!
No, we don't want the temptation. Our job is to support him, not the manus.
 
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amirm

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Without knowing the assumptions and calculations going on in the software that speaker is no different than a open baffle speaker mounted on a piece of plywood

Definitely not an infinite baffle.
It won't be infinite when you stick it on your wall. It is infinite in this case to the extent that all edge effects and reflections from the room and sound radiating from the back are eliminated. I showed analysis of how well this worked in the review:

index.php


You are seeing real versus computed ones and how the system has dealt with the issues there.

If you need more proof, then you need to understand the mathematics.
 

MatthewS

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Ah, with the tweeter in the middle, it should be easier to measure. Can you do me a favor and compare its cut out size to that of W990? If they are the same, then it makes it much easier and faster to measure.

It’s a lot smaller: 14-1/8" x 6-7/16" 359mm x 163mm

W990: 19-1/8" x 12-1/2" (486mm x 318mm)
 

DualTriode

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“Conclusions

Measuring speakers this way is challenging. Assuming we trust our measurements, the frequency response plots are not great. I expect far better from Revel. Maybe they know something about how these get used resulting in different tuning. Sadly because I don't have a wall to mount them in, I can't tell you anything about the subjective results either. Given what we have, and the high cost, I would not be buying these.” [email protected]

I seriously doubt that the measurement software has any data stored for the particular speaker being measured. The software does not have any data for the wall/stud cavity that this speaker will be installed in.

So the assumption of the software is that the infinite baffle this thing will be installed in is 5000 cubic feet with no effect on the speaker resonant frequency. So the software computed frequency response is based on measurements taken on an open baffle with no idea of the actual conditions where the thing will be installed.

Good luck, I am not confident.

I do trust that Ravel knows what they are doing.

I do not trust the Klippel NFS measurements or computed frequency response.

Thanks DT

Let's see the math, I am ready for the quiz.
 
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amirm

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I seriously doubt that the measurement software has any data stored for the particular speaker being measured.
Of course it doesn't. When you measure the frequency response of your system in your room, do you have to teach the measurement software what speakers you have???

The software does not have any data for the wall/stud cavity that this speaker will be installed in.
No it doesn't. So there will be some impact there and that is the drawback of using an open back speaker like this. Similar thing happens when you put a speaker in a room. The low frequencies get modified by the room. Still, we try to design a speaker that is anechoically correct. Same is true of in-wall speakers. There is a degree of error in all of this but is heck of a lot better than driving blind.
 

DualTriode

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On what page do we find the data for the 3.5 inch deep stud space the speaker mounts in? I believe that you will have better luck modeling with the woofer TS/P and the dimensions of the stud cavity in the wall.

If I was to hazard a guess that is where the speaker manufacturer started.

This information is not in the Kippel patent.

@amirm,

Perhaps this measurement process for measuring in wall speakers needs some rethinking.

I think that the in-wall speaker should be tested in a enclosure similar in properties and volume to where it will actually be used. Keep the baffle where it was organically tested but also enclose the back of the speaker.

Then we would not be struggling with the translation from open baffle to enclosed box. Start the test in a real enclosure much like where it will be used.

We would be less blind.

Thanks DT
 
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a|F

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I'm confused. We're willing to accept open baffle measurements here... Let's give every speaker a similar treatment. Sounds ludicrous, no? Take apart an M106 and let's see...?
 

respice finem

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In a "real" anechoic chamber the measurement would be limited by the simple fact, that there's no such thing as a standard living room wall - even if anyone would go through the hassle of building a wall into his anechoic chamber, just to test an in-wall speaker. So if one doesn't "believe" the math, there would be no reliable and consistent method of measuring such speakers at all, I'm afraid.
 
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